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How To Reduce Standing Privileges: Azure PIM for Admin Role Governance

Privileged access management remains crucial for securing today’s cloud-centric organizations. While empowering productivity relies on granting admins necessary permissions, standing privileged access poses immense risk. Striking the right balance requires technologies purpose-built to govern cloud administrator roles. Azure Privileged Identity Management (PIM) delivers robust, just-in-time controls over privileged access with easy-to-manage capabilities tailored to the unique needs of Azure AD roles.

Key Takeaways:

Protecting Privileged Roles with Azure PIM Organizations today need to protect privileged access to sensitive resources while still enabling productivity. Azure Privileged Identity Management (PIM) provides a robust solution for securing privileged roles with just-in-time access controls and detailed auditing. Organizations today need to protect privileged access to sensitive resources while still enabling productivity. Azure Privileged Identity Management (PIM) provides a robust solution for securing privileged roles with just-in-time access controls and detailed auditing.

How To Reduce Standing Privileges: Azure PIM for Admin Role Governance Photo Related to IT Work & Cloud Security for Businesses

What is Azure PIM and Why Use It?

Azure PIM enables organizations to govern access to critical Azure AD roles like Global Admins. With PIM, you can enforce multi-factor authentication (MFA), set time-bound role assignments, and require approvals before activating privileged access.

For example, you can make the Exchange Admin role eligible to a user only for 8 hours, requiring MFA and manager approval to activate it. This just-in-time access model minimizes standing privileged permissions, unlike traditional static admin role assignments.

Implementing controls like time limits and approvals with PIM helps enforce least privilege principles. By only elevating access when explicitly needed and approved, organizations reduce the attack surface for dormant privileged credentials.

How To Reduce Standing Privileges: Azure PIM for Admin Role Governance Photo Related to IT Work & Cloud Security for Businesses

Security Benefits of Just-In-Time Access

Assigning eligible roles instead of active permanent roles enhances security by ensuring privileged access stays temporary. Consider an organization that removes Global Admin standing permissions, requiring users submit PIM access requests for specific admin tasks.

This organization will reduce the window of exploitability for compromised admin credentials from unlimited to the brief authorized request duration. Just-in-time PIM role activation raises the bar substantially for attackers.

Enforcing MFA for Critical Roles

A major benefit of Azure PIM is mandatory MFA for privileged role activation. MFA requires secondary authentication via methods like biometrics or authenticator codes. If an attacker compromised a user’s credentials, those credentials alone would be useless to pass MFA checks when activating a critical role. The attacker would need to bypass the additional identity verification of MFA to gain privileged access.

Organizations can set any Azure AD role like Exchange Service Admin or SharePoint Admin to require MFA before granting access. Applying this crucial secondary authentication constraint significantly reduces risk across highly sensitive cloud roles.

Compliance and Auditing with PIM

The strict activation controls and auditing capabilities in PIM also facilitate regulatory compliance. Frameworks like SOC2 have controls requiring the logging of all privileged user access for periodic review.

PIM’s role activation workflow generates robust audit trails including:

This centralized access audit history for privileged cloud roles provides simplified compliance reporting. Auditors can easily confirm controls like time restrictions and approvals were enforced as expected.

Maximizing Security of Privileged Access

With features like just-in-time role activation, time limits, and MFA enforcement, Azure PIM strengthens privileged access security. Organizations reduce standing permissions while retaining productivity with on-demand elevated access. Evaluating PIM can meaningfully improve your cloud privilege posture. With stricter governance controls in place, you protect your most sensitive systems and facilitate compliance. Prioritize implementing PIM to lock down privileged cloud access.

Azure PIM enables transforming traditionally high-risk privileged cloud roles into secure, timed and approved access events. With features like time-bound role assignment, granular role scoping options, and customizable MFA policies per role, organizations now have unparalleled control over their Azure AD administrator access. PIM’s simplified privilege activation workflows balance security and productivity through on-demand elevation centered around business need. Leveraging PIM appropriately positions organizations to finally maximize cloud security without handcuffing administrator productivity.

Implementing robust privileged access governance no longer requires extensive infrastructure or complex policy authoring. With Azure PIM, securing privileged cloud access scales to meet modern business demands.

Frequently Asked Questions about
Azure PIM for Admin Role Governance

What Azure AD roles can I manage with PIM?

You can use PIM to manage privileged access to any Azure AD roles including Global Admin, Exchange Admin, Teams Service Admin, Groups Admin, and more. PIM enables delegated role management, activation approvals, and MFA enforcement for all eligible Azure AD administrator roles.

Does PIM allow time-bound access for Azure Subscriptions?

Yes, PIM enables time-bound role assignment and activation approvals for managing access to Azure subscription resources. You can require PIM governance over subscription-level Owner/Contributor roles to grant temporary privileged access to VMs, storage, virtual networks and more.

Can I enforce MFA prompts on every privileged role activation in PIM?

Absolutely, you can customize a blanket MFA requirement for all eligible role activations in your PIM policies. This ensures every activation event for Azure AD, Azure resources, and Microsoft 365 requires passing an MFA prompt before permitting access.

What audit logs and reporting does Azure PIM provide?

PIM delivers rich audit event logging that records every privileged access event including activations, assignments, role settings changes, and approvals. You can search historical events with filtering to simplify compliance reporting for frameworks mandating strict privileged access controls.

Does PIM integrate with Azure AD Conditional Access policies?

Yes, PIM builds on Azure AD Conditional Access allowing administrators to define granular, role-based access policies enforced during PIM activations. You can require trusted locations, device compliance, sign-in risk checks and more before permitting privileged role use.

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